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I shot some 357 magnum with my son and his friend and my son asked if I could show them how to reload. Naturally, I said sure since we seem to have everything we need and fresh, clean once fired brass. That’s when the fun started.
We are using my dad’s press and dies from the late 60s/early 70s. There’s 3 dies and I want to make sure I’m doing this right because the dies aren’t like the ones I have in Florida.
There’s a sizing die, a decapping die that has a ball on the decapping pin, and there’s a bullet seating die.
I’m assuming I:
Lube the cases, I have One Shot
Run them through the sizing die
Check case length, trim and chamfer if needed
Run them through the decapping die which will bell the case mouth
Clean the primer pockets
Prime the cases
Put powder in the cases
Use the bullet seating die to seat the bullets.
Does the bullet seating die also crimp the case? My dies in Florida are all carbide, so using case lube is new to me. Do I wash the lube off the cases or just wipe them off? Am I missing anything else?
The de-capper should also be the re-sizer. The next die should be the bell for the case mouth. Set it for the least amount of flare you can get by with. For the seat/crimp, I run the die down until right before it crimps. I also back the seater stem out all the way. I slowly move the seater in til it puts the bullet where I want it. I back the stem out again and then run the die body back down until I get the crimp I want. Once crimped, raise the ram again and run the seater back down til it meets your crimped bullet and lock them both down.
To set your sizer/de-capper, raise the ram and screw the die down til it touches the shell holder, lower the ram and give the another 1/4 to 1/2 turn and lock it down. The old steel dies do require lube. Nothing wrong with that, just another step to clean the cases.
I have loaded a lot of revolver loads and have never trimmed a revolver case.
Yeah, I used to have a couple of guns.
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The decapper is not the sizing die which threw me for a loop when I was showing my son and his friend. I decapped a couple cases and there was zero resistance. The decapping pin has a built in bulb that bells the case mouth.
There is a die that’s labeled sizing die, that has nothing but a collar installed on it.
Lee makes a universal decamping die. It is nice to use IF you clean cases with solution; if you use media, you should clean cases FIRST, since media can and will get stuck in the flash holes and it’s tough to get out; then size, decap, prime, load powder and bullet, and crimp. You also need to know whether your crimping die is a roll crimp or press crimp. Lots of the older revolver dies did roll crimps. They are not necessary but were thought to give better grip on the bullet during firing the other chambers in the cylinder. Turns out not true, but myths die hard.
Decapping pin on the expander plug is typical RCBS from that period.
If you have real revolver bullets with a crimp groove or cannelure, you can get a good seat and crimp in one stroke in one die.
We didn't do a lot of fancy Nancy primer pocket cleaning and stuff in those days.
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